1. Planning: Make your plans early. Obviously, this one is a given, but having a solid plan in place can really help ease holiday stress. Who’s hosting? Do I need to bring something? Do I have multiple events to attend? Keep your calendar updated and make a Facebook group to keep track of who is attending.
For our family, this tip gets tricky. We don’t normally know exactly what’s going on until days before Christmas, but I still do my best to make plans and stick to them.
2. Space out your purchases: This one is important for myself and my family. As much as I try to plan, there are expenses and purchases that will come up last minute (maybe you forgot to buy someone a gift! Oops!). To avoid going severely over budget in December, I purchase Christmas gifts throughout the year, and really start to hone in on sales in the Fall.
Kids tend to make this one difficult. They change their minds and update their wish lists all year. My solution is to purchase for others first – gift cards, parent gifts, etc. are far less likely to change. Also, make sure you keep all receipts organized in case you need to make a return.
3. Selling: This is the one I’m really focusing on right now. When Christmas is said and done, I’m always left with nowhere to store new items. Beyond this, my kids stop playing with certain things and I’m left with an overload of stuff. Start selling now!
Utilize Facebook buy & sell groups, Kijiji/Craigslist, apps, yardsales, etc. and get rid of toys your kids are already not playing with (because after Christmas they’ll be even more distracted), old clothes that have been piling up in the closet, and anything else you’ve been meaning to sell. On top of feeling refreshed, you’ll have extra spending money for the holidays!
4. Amazon wish list: Something I recently realized is that if you create an Amazon wishlist containing items you plan to purchase, you can visit daily to see how the prices have changed. Amazon will tell you exactly how much an item has decreased or increased, and if they’re going out of stock. If you notice a dramatic price drop, grab the item!
5. Flyers and Coupons: Seriously, check your flyers. Don’t just skim, really look for sales and coupons. Download an app (I use Flipp), know your holiday grocery list, and search it weekly. This will save you from overspending on last minute essentials.
Beyond this, utilize deal accounts on social media. I follow tons of deal hunters on Instagram and Facebook. They post real-time deals and make it easy for you to know what to purchase and when.